Parents investigate opening free schoolBy Laura Herbert
September 07, 2012
Parents are exploring the possibility of setting up a free school to ease the pressure for primary school places.
Around 20 mums and dads have set up Evendons Free School group and are issuing questionnaires to parents in the area to see whether or not there is a demand for a free school. The working party was formed following public meetings with officers at Wokingham Borough Council looking at options to solve the issue of a rising demand in primary school places.
Member Victoria Webb said: “The idea came about because a number of parents, in particular in the Evendons area, didn’t get their children into their catchment schools last year and they are now having to increase travel time and take their children to different schools.
“There has been a couple of meetings the council has run talking about the issue and the problem is going to get worse as the population is getting bigger and new housing is being built.
“We are really short of schools in this area and there is high demand for Wescott and Walter schools.”
Council officers have identified Wokingham town as one of three hotspot areas needing extra places to cope with demand.
Around 20 parents met on Tuesday, August 21, and decided to set up the group and conduct research.
During a meeting in Wokingham last month, the council pledged to create at least 90 extra primary school places for the September 2013/14 in take.
The council’s preferred option is to create new additional school sites with options including a new academy or free schools, or split sites managed by existing head teachers and governing bodies.
As part of its research, Evendons Free School has launched a questionnaire asking whether for parents would support a free school in the area.
Mrs Webb, of Luckley Wood, continued: “The former White House School would be an obvious option but we would need to look at other potential sites.
“We have more than 50 responses so far, so we have made a good start and are encouraging as many people as possible to complete the survey so we can understand what the demand is.”
She added: “We are aiming to set up the school for September 2013, which is a tight timescale and if it has to be a year later than so be it.”
Parents can attend the group’s next meeting at The Two Poplars pub, in Finchampstead Road, from 8pm on Tuesday, September 18.
To find out more find Evendons Free School on Facebook or visit ttp://tiny.cc/prwpjw to complete the survey.